As far as my favourite restaurants in London go, Nuno Mendes’ Corner Room has come out unquestionably on top for me for some time now. Ever since my first meal here almost a year ago now, I find myself in this corner of the splendidly refurbished Town Hall Hotel time and time again.
Located in the most inconspicuous of rooms on the first floor of what was formerly Bethnal Green’s local town hall, Corner room is a much more casual, informal affair compared to its upmarket sister restaurant downstairs – the much lauded 1 Michelin-starred Viajante. Large Edwardian era windows bathe the simple, understated room in natural light whilst vintage lamps and wooden tables give the space an elegant yet cozy feel. Take a leisurely lunch here on a sunny afternoon and you will get to see this space in its element.
Corner room @ Town Hall Hotel, Bethnal Green
Best of all though is the incredible value here. The quality to price ratio at Corner Room is seriously off the charts. There’s simply no better deal in town than their a la carte lunch menu, priced at a mere £21 for 3 glorious courses. Every single dish is a work of art, and you get all the contemporary flair and brilliant combinations which Mendes and team have honed at Viajante without an ounce of fuss or stress on your wallet.
The menu here is seasonal with several dishes inspired by Mendes’ native Iberia. However, you will also find subtle influences and ingredients from the far east and the rest of the world throughout. Take their cured sea trout starter which I had in summer last year. Served with a pickled cucumber salad, juicy pearls of ikura (salmon roe) and a beautifully balanced fresh herb vinaigrette, it was one of the most impressive, seamless combinations of east and west I’ve ever tasted. You gotta love the stunning plating as well.
Cured sea trout with cucumber & ikura
If there’s one dish I can’t get enough of, it’s their signature Iberico pork with migas (Portuguese bread pudding). Served a rosy medium-rare, the texture of the Iberico pork is more prime, melt in the mouth fillet steak than pork loin. Each bite delivers bombs and bombs of carnivorous flavour that’s an incredible match for the moist, paprika-spiked nuggets of pan-fried migas. An absolute must.
Iberico pork with migas
To round things off, I’m always partial to their apple and hazelnut frozen pannacotta, an ingenious creation that’s usually a staple in the dessert section. The frozen pannacotta is creamy and luscious, akin to a dense, ice-cold vanilla flavoured parfait. But the real highlight for me are the different textures at play in the condiments. Apple was served dried, jellied and roasted. Hazelnut was served au naturale, pureed and in toffee-like cubes. Each mouthful is unique and absolutely bliss.
Apple & hazelnut frozen pannacotta
Easily my favourite corner in all of London, if not the world. Yes, the trek out to Bethnal Green is a little out of the way if you’re not local to the East end. But for the price you pay (lunch comes up to under £30 / head with a glass of wine), this is quite simply as good as it gets.
Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square, Bethnal Green, E2 9NF | www.townhallhotel.com/corner_room |
p.s. lunch bookings are taken, but dinner is walk-in only (on the bright side, they have a great bar you can perch at while you wait)